I’ve Been Reading

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An Open BookOver the past month or so I’ve had a chance to do some reading, and I thought I’d share what books have gone before my eyes.

An Improbable Life: Memories by Robert Craft

For Craft, assistant and surrogate son to one of the musical greats of all music; Igor Stravinsky, had his musical beginnings at St. John’s Episcopal Church, Kingston, New York. It was not religion, or the Episcopal Church which drew the young boy to music, but a fine music program. Craft’s parents were not Episcopalian, and it appears Craft only joined the choir at the behest of his parents to gain some culture, but this experience was the impetus of what would become a life vocation; musicologist, and conductor.

As is with much of Craft’s various works, the writing style is urbane, cultured, broad, and filled with excursions into a complex dialectic kaleidoscope of people, places, remembered, and re-created quotes from the world’s creative personae.  If, however, one reads this book to answer the blazing old question revolving around the rumor that Craft actually co-composed music of Stravinsky’s serial period, the reader with gain no crumbs or insight to the debate. Craft does not speak openly in this arena. In fact, much of the book reminds me of other works surrounding Stravinsky and their relationship; almost written in his former “diary-style”. The end of the book, which to me appears to be a literary allusion akin to the final notes of Petrushka, trails off into a pianissimo with no formal conclusions—it just ends. Read More

The scandalous gospel of Jesus

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What’s so good about the good news?

With school over for the year, I am able to enjoy some fun reading, and I am happy to report that I have throughly enjoyed Peter J. Gomes’ new book, “The Scandalous gospel of Jesus: what’s so good about the good news”. Some reading this might remember his previous best seller, “The Good Book, reading the Bible with mind and heart.”

Gomes, in plain and simple language, yet with enough of a scholar’s touch, states that Jesus came preaching, but the church wound up preaching Jesus. He asks why does the church insist upon making Jesus the object of its attention rather than heeding, and I add, truly preaching what Jesus taught? The Rev. Gomes, since 1974, has been at Harvard University, serving as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals, and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church. Read More

Spirituality at Work

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Spirituality at Work by Gregory F.A. Pierce, Loyola Press, 2001While I was attending the NAAD Conference in Seattle, I came across this book which was sub-titled, 10 Ways to Balance Your Life on the Job. This would not normally be a book I would choose to read as I work full time in church ministry, and if I could not find spirituality in my work then something was wrong, but the idea sounded like something I could possibly use as a book study, or at least use as a resource for an upcoming Benedictine Work Day I am planning to lead in October.

Once I started the book I was taken in by the authors relaxed conversational writing style as it became immediately apparent he was not writing at me, or preaching, no..it was more as if over the years Pierce had slowly found things which worked, and graciously wished to share them with others. He speaks about this in his introduction which says: Read More

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